How To Repair Trust

Should people get second chances? Sometimes, but not always. When trust is broken, it stirs up a range of emotions in people and, despite how it is processed, the one who broke the trust is now viewed to be a threat. How harshly should we treat someone who has broken the trust? Was it severe, intentional, and irreparable? We all make bad judgment calls sometimes and these mistakes can be costly no matter what our intention was at that moment. Most people would agree that under normal circumstances, people all deserve second chances because we have all made mistakes. The question becomes, what does that path back to redemption look like? 


Despite the circumstances surrounding broken trust, we don’t always have the ability to just write people off because trust is so essential to our relationships. Trust must be achieved at some point because otherwise, we would all operate mostly in isolation, and nothing would get done. Trust must be achieved. Trust is desirable and beneficial, but is it repairable? It depends on the parties involved because trust is always a partnership. Does one person want to trust the other again and does the other person care to make themselves trustworthy? Since trust is desirable, let’s discuss the process for repairing broken trust.  


Communicate – Discuss the issues regarding trust. Were the expectations reasonable? Were the mistakes and judgments intentional? What could have been done differently? 

Compassion – Can you or will you understand the other person’s perspective? Why did they choose their words and actions? What would you have done in their situation? Is this a bad person or a poor decision? 

Responsibility – If you made a mistake, own the mistake. Did you expect too much from someone? Did you make a bad decision or judgment call? Did someone not act with integrity? What could have everyone done differently? Learn from the mistake. 

Forgiveness – Can you or the other person earn a second chance? Does the other person even want a second chance? Everybody should be allowed to make a mistake and strive for redemption. Shake hands and offer the grace that you would desire from others when you make a mistake. 

New goals – How can we start over again? Start with something simple that focuses on a common goal or purpose. Create the proper expectations and make it an equal partnership. Demonstrate to each other that trust can be repaired. 

Trust, but verify – Put your newfound trust to the test. Create the proper expectations with one another with a crawl, walk run approach. Create better communication mechanisms and feedback loops. Make sure there is a more deliberate focus on honesty. 

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